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We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong.. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries,today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.”  Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body?  Well,smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream dietthat is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. Thisrepeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease,stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flourand all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed withomega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.

Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetesand finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef. 

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital , Mesa , AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is also the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.

Source: World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease

From blues and reds to whites and yellows, we’ve got the lowdown on potatoes.
Article By: Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein
Skinny on Potatoes

Potatoes are a year-round staple, whether you enjoy them in a cold salad at a summer potluck, mashed or roasted at the holidays, or as part of a traditional Irish meal around St. Patrick’s Day.

And that’s just because they taste good. Now consider their excellent nutritional profile: potatoes are fat-free, sodium-free, and cholesterol-free. A medium-size potato (5.3 ounces, about the size of a computer mouse) has half your day’s vitamin C requirement. Contrary to popular myth, most of the potato’s vitamins and minerals are not found in the skin. Instead, they cluster in a layer a little less than an inch under the skin. Therefore, removing the skin will not affect the spud’s nutrition. But don’t reach for the vegetable peeler just yet: If eaten with its skin, a potato has more potassium than a banana and is one of the best fiber options in the produce section.

Basic varieties
There are five basic types: yellow-fleshed, red-skinned, white, blue and Russet. They are categorized by color and by starch: less starch yields a firmer potato. The following chart outlines the differences between each variety.

The Potato Rainbow
Yellow-fleshed
These dense, creamy potatoes, typified by the Yukon Gold variety, are moderately starchy, and so make excellent mashed potatoes and au gratins. They are flavorful, slightly sweet and perfect for steaming, boiling, stir-frying and pan-frying (as in hashed browns or hash).
Red-skinned
Often called “new potatoes,” these spuds have a vibrant red skin — and some, a mottled red skin. They have a mild, earthy taste and are the least starchy of any variety, so they’re best roasted with olive oil and herbs. Because they hold up well, they’re also great in potato salads.
White potatoes
Perhaps the most versatile potato, these are available in round little balls or long fingerlings (not named for fingers but for little German fish). They should not be confused with larger Russets; white potatoes, like Irish creamers, are always small with a creamy white or pale beige skin. Use them for salads, mashed potatoes, oven fries and any dish that requires boiled or steamed potatoes.
Blue potatoes
Closely related to the original potatoes from South America, blues are actually available in a range of colors: blue, violet, purple or lavender. These fairly starchy potatoes have a nutty, earthy taste. They are good roasted or mixed into doughs (bread, muffin or even tamale).
Russets
Sometimes called Idaho or baking potatoes, Russets are the starchiest (and thus the fluffiest) potatoes and have thick, netted-brown skins. They make fluffy mashed potatoes and classic baked potatoes as well as great French fries. Their skin is so thick and chewy that these are the only potatoes that can be turned into potato skins. Because of their dry, starchy texture, they are also the only potatoes that can create gnocchi or potato noodles.

Best-ever mashed potatoes
Here’s a shock: the microwave actually makes the best mashed potatoes.

1. Wash (but do not dry) 4 or 5 medium Russet or yellow-fleshed potatoes. Do not prick or peel them. Place them in a large, microwave-safe bowl with a lid that has an open vent hole — or cover the microwave-safe bowl with plastic wrap and then poke a small hole in the wrap.

2. Microwave on high for 8 minutes (total) without disturbing.

3. Remove from microwave — be careful of hot steam — take off the lid or plastic wrap, and mash with an electric mixer at medium speed or a hand-held potato masher adding some skim milk, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth, a little butter or olive oil and/or some Dijon mustard and herbs.

 

  © 2012 Weight Watchers International, Inc. © 2012 WeightWatchers.com, Inc. All rights reserved.
WEIGHT WATCHERS and PointsPlus® are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc. and are used under license by WeightWatchers.com, Inc.

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown, for Blisstree.com

Omnivores, take note: Embracing a vegetarian diet could make you happier and less stressed, according to new research published in Nutrition Journal.

The reason comes down to fatty acids: Diets that include meat and fish are higher in arachidonic acid (AA), an animal source of omega-6 fatty acids. Much of the meat Americans eat today is quite high in AA: The average omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid profile of modern grain-fed meat is 5 times higher than grass-fed meat, like our ancestors ate. And previous research has shown high levels of AA can cause mood-disturbing brain changes.

High-fish diets also mean higher levels of long-chain, or omega-3 fatty acids, like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both EPA and DHA combat the negative effects of AA. High dietary levels of omega-3 fatty acids are linked to better brain health, better mood and a host of other health benefits. Most health experts recommend an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of about 4:1.

In theory, then, frequent fish eaters should have be protected against the damaging effects of AA because of their higher intake of omega-3 acids. But an earlier study found omnivores reported significantly worse moods than vegetarians, despite higher intakes of EPA and DHA.

In this follow-up study, 39 meat-eating participants were assigned to one of three diets. A control group ate meat, fish or poultry daily; a second group ate fish 3-4 times weekly but no meat; and a third group ate strictly vegetarian. After two weeks, mood scores were unchanged for the fish- and meat-eating groups, but vegetarians reported significantly better moods and less stress.

Source: Huffpost Healthy Living

by Anne Englebert on March 5, 2012

Eating organic has lots of benefits compared to conventional food; it is healthier for you and better for the environment. However, the price for enjoying the freshness and goodness of organic vegetables and fruits can often be quite expensive if you don’t know the right way or places to buy them on the cheap. Here are five green tips that will help you to eat organic and local without breaking your food budget:

1-  Shop at Local Farmers’ Markets: The farmer’s market is a great source of local and fresh organic produce at great prices. Similarly eating local straight from the farmer will reduce your carbon footprint as these products do not travel from all over the world to end up on your plate. The farmers present on local farmers’ markets come only from a maximum distance of 100-miles.  Moreover, eating organic food from local farms is also a way to support the local economy of your community as the large majority of organic farms are small farms. You can easily find local Farmers Markets nearby by simply typing the name of your city along with “farmers market” into your search engine. You can also use the website Local Harvest that lists every place where you will be able to buy cheap organic foods.

2- Receive an organic basket of seasonal vegetables and fruits: Organic vegetables and fruits are often cheapest during the times in which they are most abundant. You can save even more money on organic food by joining a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  The program can supply you with seasonal food directly from local farms on a weekly basis. A farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public, and these shares consist of a basket of vegetables, but other farms products can be included. Whatever the farm grows each week, you get your share of the yield. However, you can’t choose exactly what you want, you get what the farms grows. So as long as you’re not picky, you will always get the best seasonal produce for the cost of conventional produce in the grocery store or even cheaper. For fruits and vegetables that you do not like or have allergies to, most CSAs allow you to list the items that you do not want to receive.

3- Join an Organic Food Buying Club or an organic food Co-Op: A food cooperative or a buying club are a great way to get the organic produce you want on the cheap. Local co-ops typically works by gathering people who all want to take advantage of bulk buys as well as sharing the cost and savings.  Then the co-op is responsible for contacting local farms, distributors, or other sources to get the best prices on bulk orders and order accordingly for the entire group. After the produce is delivered, it’s divided up equally amongst the members. The best website to find food co-ops near you is Weston A. Price Foundation Local Chapters that only lists active co-ops.

4- Buy organic food directly from the farm: If you have more time or you are not living too far away from an organic farm, go visit the farmers and their farms yourself. You can directly check with them the quality of what you buy — either organic vegetables or organic meats. It is perhaps not the best option to save money, however, going directly to the farm can give you some great discounts! Go on Eat Wild Farm Directory to find local farmers that offer a variety of meats or on Local Harvest for organic vegetables.

5- Grow Your Own Organic Vegetable Garden: The cheapest way for getting healthy, fresh, organic vegetables and fruits is to start your own kitchen garden. It’s a great option to get extremely fresh foods on the cheap while spending time outside and working in your garden with your family. Even the first Lady Michelle Obama started a garden at the White House in 2009, so why not you?

Thanks to these options, you can now avoid paying a premium for organic produce and easily find cheap organic foods in the way you prefer that is most convenient for you and your family.

Dec 18, 2011 – Recent studies have found statistical links between pesticide use and an outbreak of Parkinson’s disease in California farm towns. Researchers even know which chemicals are the likely culprits. What’s the government doing about it? Not much….more

Diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s, Bruce McDermott was forced to retire as Visalia’s police chief after his arm shook so uncontrollably during a swearing-in ceremony that people thought he was waving hello.

A Definition of Organic Food

There is a lot a talk these days about living healthier, greener, more sustainable lifestyles. One of the key things suggested is for us to eat organic food. But what is organic food?

That font of all 21st Century knowledge, Wikipedia, defines organic foods as:

those that are produced using environmentally sound methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

You know, food like your great-grandparents used to grow. Before the oil companies recycled everything into plastic containers for us.

A Brief History of Organic Food

Until the early part of the 20th Century pretty much all the food grown across the world was organic. It wasn’t called organic food – it was just food. Nobody had thought of putting chemicals into soil and sprays to enhance crop growth and yield. And genetic engineering took place over generations as farmers selectively bred to improve their stock or their seeds.

With the rise of the petro-chemical industries in the early 1900s, agricultural research became focused very much on the chemicals that are needed for plant and animal growth. That these chemicals come from finite resources, most often as by-products of oil refining, was rarely thought of. That they could cause other problems was seldom recognized until the problems became too big to ignore.

In the 1930s there was a reaction against the use of chemical additives in people’s food. It was led, in part, by Rudolf Steiner who also designed an educational system based on his holistic and sustainable outlook. These early organic farmers and foodies laid the foundations for today’s interest in sustainable lifestyles.

How Can You Be Sure That Your Food is Organic?

The early followers of organics were often dismissed as anti-scientific cranks. Nowadays, organic production is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, and there are millions of dollars being spent to research more sustainable farming methods. But, unfortunately, organics still account for a minority of the foods grown. In 2008, less than 1% of agricultural and pastoral land in the US was certified organic.

Most nations have a government regulated system that certifies that those people who claim to be selling organic produce are actually doing so. It will vary from country to country, but most systems will be affiliated with the international umbrella organization IFOAM. You can check with IFOAM to make sure that the organic accreditation is actually recognized.

Sources

1. http://www.ers.usda.gov/Data/Organic/

2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organic_food

3. http://www.ifoam.org/

4. http://world.edu/worldedu_posts/organic-food-history-organic-food/